I am sitting here at mid-day, watching a light rain fall outside... not enough to do much good, but still, a rain, so God is listening to us.... and the animals are cooler and very, very happy this morning. No birds cowering, wings held aloft, under the sapling trees of the henyard, or huddled down into the cool dirt. Wildings at the feeder, instead of hiding from midday sun, and the air conditioner off all morning, windows open.
So what made me mad?
Not these guys:
The kitty we have seen on our game cam numerous times now, headed for the water bin.
Not our buddy the possum, whom you can just make out through the grass on the left side of the picture... we see it almost every night now.
And WOW, we weren't mad at the idea that we had a fox in the pasture at night, whom we have NEVER seen anywhere around here during the day. (and are we glad we're locking up the birds tightly!)
Please notice the temperature on the camera capture... it was 54 when I arose this morning, and darn cold out there in shorts and a shirt while doing chores.
Here's what has me riled.
Two years ago, we decided that one way we could give back to our community was to donate eggs from our chickens to the pantry, which is supported by a thrift store, which, in turn, is supported by volunteers from all of the different churches in the little town two miles from us.
We began taking three or four dozen a week, but have worked up enough that some weeks we have taken as many as six to eight dozen eggs a week, mixing big and little. I get up on Saturday morning and clean the eggs before I take them. I enjoy going down there, and visiting with the Saturday volunteers. When going in during the week sometimes, it is a whole different story, bustling and crowded, but on Saturday it's quiet, and I can stop and have a chat with the volunteers or with Dorothy, the Saturday manager. We have cared for our chickens in the bitter cold of winter (when we had to carry warm water from the house) and through the horrid heat of this summer, when we watered up to five times a day on bad days to keep them comfortable.
So... why am I mad?
Thursday I got up and packed all the eggs... I actually stopped and bought two dozen because I was two dozen short (Thursday and Friday's eggs) because we were going out of town. I had forgotten that the thrift store does not open on Thursday. I came home and put all the eggs back in the fridge before going on my errands.
Saturday, of course, we were in Ames.
So yesterday morning, I got up and made sure all the eggs were clean, and the dozens had mixed big and little eggs. I packed 9 1/2 dozen into sacks and added all the magazines (remember I'm a magazine addict) that I was donating and loaded everything into the car. I got down to the thrift store, and went in the back door, and put three and a half dozen in the fridge. Then I went back for the rest. I noticed that the food cart was packed and in the hallway, which meant that some needy person was there to pick up a donation of food.
As I walked back in and started up the stairs, I met a volunteer coming down. She asked me what I was doing, and I told her that I had eggs to donate... and perhaps some could be put on the cart. She asked me "Are they homegrown or store bought?" (remember, there were two dozen store bought in there, too)
I answered... "Homegrown" and started to say "but...." to explain there were some store bought too.
She interrupted me and said this:
"Oh.... the people who come here for help always ask us if the eggs are home grown or store bought. They really do not want the home grown, and usually don't take them, so I just take them home and use them".
Folks, I was totally nonplussed. I mean, I was just flabbergasted. I was so surprised, I let her take the sack out of my arms and go upstairs with it. Thank heavens I had thought to take a dozen out for my ex-daughter in law, whom I was going to drive to meet to give Nathan's school clothes to her.
For one thing, I myself have seen a sign on the refrigerator... "One dozen for a small order, and two dozen eggs for a large order" .... but if I thought that all of our hard effort was going so that the volunteers can have free eggs... well, it was extremely disappointing. I did not want to cause a big scene on the steps, and I don't know any of the volunteers from the weekdays.
I was upset enough to call Keith and tell him, and his answer was "Don't take any more down there".
However, I am going to go in Saturday morning and sit down with Dorothy, the Saturday manager, and find out what is really going on. If it's true that the folks coming there would rather not eat "organic eggs" (meaning that they are NOT the white, uniform sized eggs from the grocery store) then I'll quit taking them. There is a food kitchen now in Basehor, five miles away, and they are open only 1 1/2 hours per week, but have a steady stream of folks coming there. I can always find out if they would want the eggs, so that is one option.
I can keep my family and my friends stocked with eggs, especially good friends Troy and Kathy to our south, so that is another option.
We can contact Harvestors, and see if there are other options.
In order to sell off the farm, Kansas has stringent guidelines that must be followed. I can't see that it would be any kind of money-making thing for us, and besides, that's not what we are about here.
I'm still very disappointed, and would still like to sit down Saturday and talk about it. I'm also still deciding whether or not I will be taking eggs there in the future. We have always tried to help the food pantry, and patronized the thrift store regularly... but I guess I'm just still very surprised. I guess if I thought the volunteers themselves were very needy and needed the eggs... it would be one thing, but to casually say "We're using the eggs that you bring for the needy ourselves"... well, it was just an eye-opener.
So, what do you think? Should I still take eggs there?
I have ten new pullets coming on... so they have to go somewhere!